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Sleep Training vs. Sleep Shaping: How to Help Your Child Sleep Like a Pro

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

As a new parent, one of the most challenging hurdles is helping your child develop healthy sleep habits and learn to sleep through the night. Many parents turn to sleep training, using behavioral techniques like cry-it-out or fading to teach their baby to become an independent sleeper. However, for newborns, a gentler approach called sleep shaping is recommended. At Lake Country Sleep, we use sleep shaping for newborns and our signature CHEER Method for sleep training children 4 months through age 10. With the right approach (and perhaps a step-by-step plan, guidance, and coaching), you'd be surprised how quickly you can help your little one become a champion sleeper!



Sleep Shaping for Newborns: Building a Strong Foundation

Sleep shaping refers to establishing a nurturing environment, predictable routines, and developmentally appropriate sleep schedules for newborns. The goal is to shape your baby's sleep in a gentle, supportive way by meeting their needs and helping them learn the difference between day and night. With sleep shaping, you respond promptly to your newborn's cues, feed them when they're hungry, keep them comfortably diapered, hold and cuddle them, and create a calming bedtime routine.


By consistently and lovingly shaping your newborn's sleep experience, you are setting the foundation for healthy sleep habits and patterns. For some babies, sleep shaping in the early weeks and months is enough, and they naturally become independent sleepers without the need for more formal sleep training. At Lake Country Sleep, we believe the key to great baby sleep starts at birth with sleep shaping. It's a gift that will benefit your child for life.



Sleep Training: Teaching Your Baby or Child to Become an Independent Sleeper

While sleep shaping lays the groundwork, sleep training refers to the behavioral techniques used to teach a baby to fall asleep independently and sleep through the night. Sleep training is recommended for babies 4 months and older, when they are developmentally ready for more independence at night. There are so many sleep training methods (and blends of methods) out there, and we have the expertise to put together a plan that will work for your family, based on the information you share with us. This is what we’re trained to do!


At Lake Country Sleep, we use our own CHEER Method for sleep training that also involves sleep shaping.


When you think of the word "cheer" you probably wouldn't equate it with sleep training.


But, it actually stands for what we - as moms and sleep coaches - believe every sleep and parenting program should include:

  • the belief that your child is CAPABLE

  • a HOLISTIC approach that examines every angle of your child and family

  • EVIDENCE-BASED sleep and parenting strategies because we only want the best for our children

  • a feeling of EMPOWERMENT as you navigate your child's sleep with bold confidence after working with us

  • a RESPONSIVE technique that allows you to strengthen your bond with your child


We work closely with families to establish a customized sleep training plan based on their baby's unique needs and temperament. The goal of the CHEER Method, like all sleep training, is to help children (0-10 years) learn the skill of sleep so they can become champion sleepers. With the right sleep training approach for your family, your baby will get the rest they need to support healthy development.


Finding the Right Approach for Your Baby or Child

Whether you choose sleep shaping, sleep training, or a combination of both, the goal is the same: to help your baby develop healthy sleep habits and the ability to sleep through the night. At Lake Country Sleep, we evaluate each child's unique situation and needs to determine the best approach for that family. For newborns, sleep shaping is always recommended to start. Then, around 4 months, we evaluate if a baby is ready for more formal sleep training.


With a tailored, nurturing approach, sleep shaping and sleep training, when done in the right way, can reduce the amount of crying there is during the process. The key is finding what works best for your baby's temperament and your own parenting philosophy. At Lake Country Sleep, we believe that with support, education, and the right tools, every family can achieve great sleep for their baby and enjoy the benefits of a well-rested household. The journey may take time, but the rewards of a baby who develops healthy sleep habits from an early age are well worth the effort.



Sleep Success: The Benefits of Healthy Sleep Habits

Establishing healthy sleep habits and good sleep hygiene early on has significant benefits for babies and families. For babies, sleep is essential for growth and development. Sleep helps support a baby's rapidly developing brain, immune system, and body. Babies who get enough sleep at night also tend to nap better during the day, giving them the rest they need at each stage of development.


For families, sleep training a baby and helping them learn to sleep through the night leads to better sleep for parents and siblings as well. Less night waking means more opportunities for restorative rest for the whole family. Parents of well-rested babies also report lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Healthy sleep at an early age can truly help support the well-being of the entire family.


At Lake Country Sleep, we are passionate about helping families achieve sleep success from the start. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can support your baby's healthy sleep development and get your whole family sleeping well. The benefits of sleep are lifelong, so start your baby on the path to sleep success today.


Start Your Baby's Sleep Success Today

If you're struggling with your baby's sleep, the time for answers is now. At Lake Country Sleep, we offer personalized support for families with babies from newborn through age 10. Our team of pediatric sleep consultants will evaluate your baby's unique sleep situation, temperament, and needs and provide you with a customized plan to help your little one become a champion sleeper.


For newborns, we recommend starting with our nurturing sleep shaping program and the Lake Country Sleep Newborn Sleep Guide. Sleep shaping provides you with the tools and guidance to establish healthy sleep habits and developmentally appropriate sleep schedules right from the start. As your baby grows, we determine if and when they are ready for formal sleep training using our CHEER Method.


At Lake Country Sleep, we believe that with the proper support and resources, every family can achieve sleep success for their baby. Our team is here to provide you with the education, encouragement, and accountability you need. We offer phone consultations, video consultations, and in-person services depending on your location. Contact us today to get started helping your baby develop the gift of healthy sleep. The benefits will last a lifetime.


The Lake Country Sleep Difference

At Lake Country Sleep, we take a compassionate, holistic approach to pediatric sleep support. Our team of consultants are all highly-trained professionals with backgrounds in child development and sleep health. We stay up-to-date with the latest research in infant and child sleep to provide families with evidence-based guidance and resources.


Our sleep shaping and sleep training programs are customized to each baby and family's unique situation. We understand that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution when it comes to children's sleep. Our goal is to gain a thorough understanding of your baby's sleep challenges, temperament, home environment, and your parenting philosophies in order to develop an effective plan that you feel fully comfortable with implementing.


Sweet Dreams Ahead

Establishing healthy sleep habits in babies and children provides benefits that last a lifetime. At Lake Country Sleep, we are dedicated to helping families achieve sleep success from the start. Our team of pediatric sleep consultants will evaluate your baby's unique needs and provide you with a customized sleep shaping and sleep training plan to help your little one become a champion sleeper.





With the proper guidance and resources, you can feel empowered to help your baby develop excellent sleep hygiene and learn to sleep through the night. Our compassionate, holistic approach provides the education and accountability you need to establish a nurturing sleep environment, predictable routines, and developmentally appropriate schedules for your baby.


Don't wait to get the answers and support you need. Help your baby develop the gift of sleep and give yourself the gift of rest. Sweet dreams are ahead for your whole family. Start today!


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